Advocacy Mondays

Raising YOUR  Our Voices

By Jennifer Denise Ouellette

Lisa’s first blog post talked about Laura Collins and all that she has accomplished through raising her voice. I’m not usually a fan girl, but when it comes to Laura, I’m not embarrassed to admit I gush. When Laura was rerouted onto the road to the tragic, upside-down crazy town that is eating disorders, the resources I took for granted when my own daughter became ill in late 2011 didn’t exist. Instead of pulling to the side of the road, bursting into tears, and waiting for a tow truck to rescue her, Laura decided to build her own road—the one that leads to recovery for our loved ones. Heck, she designed her own GPS with F.E.A.S.T.

What Laura did in changing the landscape of eating disorder treatment has been an amazing gift to all of us. Still, Laura is but one woman, and a mortal one at that. Girlfriend is getting tired of driving (I have way too much invested in this road metaphor to stop now, people) and it’s time for us to take our turn at the wheel.

When it comes to raising my voice, I will admit to being a natural. Y’all that don’t feel compelled to wave your hand wildly until called upon perplex me, but I love you anyway. Luckily, social media has recently transformed the communication landscape to give us all a megaphone with which to shout “What do want? EVIDENCE-BASED TREATMENT! When do we want it? Preferably yesterday, but we’re not unreasonable, so today is fine!”

Most of you are on Facebook at this point—and that’s a good thing. Where most of you are not yet, is on Twitter—and I’m here to try to convince you to change that.  Why do I keep insisting you need to leave your comfort zone and learn another new-fangled technology?  Because in 2014, Twitter is the best platform with which to reach the greatest number of people and thereby affect change.

In addition to being a voice-raiser, I am also a straight-talker, so trust me when I say this comes from a place of love and affection: as a newcomer to the world of ED activism and advocacy, what I observe is that many educated, passionate, knowledgeable, amazing, gifted and just-generally-rockin’ people spend a lot of time preaching to the choir. While that type of discourse has its place, true transformation will happen by reaching people that don’t already understand the issues we face as families, carers and patients.

This road we were all detoured to by ED? We can impact the twists and turns it takes and maybe, if we come together on this, we can have as the terminus a place where society acknowledges that eating disorders are treatable illnesses and where we are supported by the powers-that-be in medicine, research and education to help us help ourselves through early diagnosis, evidence-based treatment and insurance coverage that acknowledges early, intense intervention saves both lives and money.

Now, go sign yourself up for a Twitter account and follow @jugglingjenn. I promise to follow back and we can get this big bus o’change on the road! Stay tuned for more instruction; I am a teacher by trade—I know that together we can do this thing.


  1. I'm so completely tickled by the growing parent activism community. Such amazing attitude and focus on the science.

    I stand on the shoulders of those parent activists before me, and glad to be there for others taking the same path!!


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